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Neil Kelly (born Thursday (1962-05-10) 10 May 1962 (age 57) in Wakefield), also known by the nickname of "Ned", is the defense coach of the Houston SaberCats of Major League Rugby (MLR) and an English former professional rugby league footballer. He played club level rugby league (RL) for Dewsbury Rams (two spells), Featherstone Rovers, Wakefield Trinity and Hunslet Hawks as a hooker or loose forward, and coached representative level rugby league (RL) for Wales, and at club level for Dewsbury Rams, Widnes Vikings, Leigh Centurions, and coached representative level rugby union (RU) for Namibia (assistant), and at club level for Ulster Rugby (defence), and Doncaster Knights (assistant).

Neil Kelly
Neil Kelly.jpg
Personal information
BornThursday (1962-05-10) 10 May 1962 (age 57)
Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Playing information
PositionLoose forward, Hooker
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1984–86 Dewsbury Rams
1985–86 Featherstone Rovers
1986–87 Wakefield Trinity
≥1987–≤1989 Hunslet Hawks
1989–91 Dewsbury Rams
Total 0 0 0 0 0
Coaching information
Rugby union
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2004–08 Ulster Rugby (defence)
2010 Doncaster R.F.C. (assistant)
2019– Houston SaberCats (defense)
Total 0 0 0 0
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2011 Namibia (assistant)
Rugby league
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1995–01 Dewsbury Rams
2001–04 Widnes Vikings 28 14 1 13 50
2008–10 Leigh Centurions
2017–18 Dewsbury Rams
Total 28 14 1 13 50
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2001–03 Wales 5 1 0 4 20
Source: [1][2]


Coaching careerEdit

Namibian Rugby (International)Edit

Assistant Coach

In 2011 Neil Kelly was appointed as Assistant coach to Namibia national rugby union team during their preparations for the Rugby World Cup finals to be held in New Zealand later that year.

Doncaster R.F.C.Edit

Assistant Coach

Leigh CenturionsEdit

Head Coach/Director of Football

On his return to England and Rugby League Neil spent two years as the Head Coach and then Director of Football at Leigh Centurions Rugby League Club, competing in the Co-Operative Rugby League Championship. [3]

Ulster Rugby UnionEdit

Assistant Coach/Defence Coach

Neil Kelly spent two and a half years working as the defence coach for Ulster Rugby Union Club. Ulster Rugby participate in the Heineken Cup and RaboDirect PRO12, and provide the biggest regular supporter numbers for a true 'sport for all' in Northern Ireland. Based at Ravenhill in Belfast, they are the only sport running a full-time professional team based in Northern Ireland. [4]

Widnes VikingsEdit

Head Coach

Whilst at Widnes Neil won promotion, via the 1st Division Grand Final 2001, to the Super League, the Northern Hemisphere's elite Rugby League competition. After a successful first season Neil was awarded the prestigious Super League Coach of the Year award for 2002.

Widnes win Grand Final [1]


Dewsbury RamsEdit

Head Coach

During his five-year spell at Dewsbury, Neil Kelly coached the club through one of the most successful spells in its history.

No promotion for Dewsbury after Grand Final win [3]

Wales Rugby League (International)Edit

Head Coach


Wales 33 Vs England 42 [4]


Genealogical informationEdit

Neil Kelly is one of three brothers to play professional Rugby League, Andrew "Andy" Kelly who played for Wakefield Trinity, Hull Kingston Rovers and Illawarra Steelers (Australia), and Richard Kelly who played for Wakefield Trinity and Dewsbury.


External linksEdit